This week Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan showed that he was listening to labour, if not quite getting the point.
When labour pointed out relatively low-wage nursing home workers would be suffering under a wage freeze while their for-profit CEOs and shareholders would not, Duncan suggested the government might ask the for-profit nursing home bosses to also freeze their wages.
That would include CEOs such as Extendicare’s Tim Lukenda, whose compensation last year was $1.5 million from the $200 million the government paid out to his nursing home chain. His counterpart at Chartwells, Brent Binions, might make the case that he would suffer more being frozen at his measly $697,000 per year in compensation. After all, hydro bills have sharply increased.
Duncan told the Globe and Mail “we have spoken about fairness and everybody working together. In that context, the unions make a very valid point.”
With a growing income gap between rich and poor in this province, labour has made a stinging point about who will really be affected by wage restraint. While for-profit companies receive tax breaks that pad their bottom line, workers will be once again asked to sacrifice.